Power hiccup fails to dim enchanting concert by Bailey and band

GAIL TRESIDDER.
Last updated 14:35 04/01/2013

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Performance

Choral performance enchants Concert showcases fine talents A showcase of classical mastery A real treat for keen audience Enjoyment for all at finale Much to admire in show of two halves Vibrant women give their all in finale Top singers could do with an update Delightful date with calendar girls Quartet's playing exquisite

REVIEW: Woollaston Estates Gala Concert, Ella Fitzgerald Tribute. Vocals Jennine Bailey with Tom Rainey piano, Gwyn Reynolds saxophone, Mike Story double bass and Dan Kennedy drums.

Presented by Woollaston Jazz & Blues Nelson Festival, last night.

In his introduction, Liam Ryan described Jennine Bailey as "the Jewel in the Crown of the 2013 festival" and this full-house audience, happily tucking into vineyard platters and drinking fine wine of the house, looked forward to an evening of excellent music.

Ten minutes from the start, the band swinging and Bailey impressing with her scat singing of Fats Waller's Honeysuckle Rose, down went the sound system, out went the lights - we had a power cut.

An hour later, during which we got to know each other better, auxiliary generators were found and plugged in, the band returned to the stage - "It's great to be back," Bailey said.

Three numbers into the set, this singer's slow gentle version of My Funny Valentine with lovely long pure notes blossoming from her mouth, held beautifully and growing in power yet absolutely controlled, had us enchanted. From then on, we were hers.

Bailey's backing band is superb with Tom Rainey on keyboard, his flying fingers especially joyful with Gershwin's Oh, Lady Be Good; on double bass Mike Story, smiling broadly, taking pleasure in his seemingly effortless, light as thistledown playing; Dan Kennedy on drums, solid, essential and impressing in solo spots and the amazing Gwyn Reynolds with his swinging saxophone, stunning throughout and holding the whole thing together with ease.

With clear and crisp enunciation and honey in her voice, Bailey gave us a version of Harold Arlen's Somewhere Over The Rainbow that stands comparison with the many singers who have made this song famous.

Her rendition of Gershwin's wonderful Summertime was yet another highlight of what turned out to be, despite the unforeseen large hiccup, a marvellous night of music originally sung by that unique and never-to-be-forgotten three-octave diva, Ella Fitzgerald.

It was very good to be there.

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